IPR is featuring some of the many AAPI pioneers who impacted the field of public relations in celebration of AAPI Heritage Month.

Haunani-Kay Trask was born on October 3, 1949, in San Francisco, California. She grew up on the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i and was a descendant of the Pi’ilani line of Maui and the Kahakumakaliua line of Kaua’i.

Trask received a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her graduate studies, Trask became an active feminist and made her dissertation into a book, Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986). After earning her graduate degrees, Trask became a founding member of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and served as its director for almost a decade.

She continued to educate people on Hawaiian history and politics. In 1986, Trask hosted and produced First Friday, a monthly public-access TV show highlighting political and cultural Hawaiian issues. She also authored the book From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i (1993), which was described as a “foundational text” about indigenous rights. She represented Native Hawaiians at the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous People in Geneva and participated in the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. Trask died in 2021.

Resources

Activist, Retired University of Hawaii Professor Haunani-Kay Trask Fought for Hawaiian Rights – Honolulu Star Advertiser

Haunani-Kay Trask, Champion of Native Rights in Hawaii, Dies at 71 – The New York Times

A Conversation with Mililani Trask – The Contemporary Pacific

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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